↓ Login/Logout ↓
Schedule/Results
↓ Roster ↓
Salaries
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Final stop out west: Portland

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (23-44) at Portland Trail Blazers (30-34)
  • Date: March 16, 2013
  • Time: 10:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After defeating the New York Knicks on national television last Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers will be hosting the Detroit Pistons tonight.

Terry Stotts’ group is one of the most talented young teams in the NBA and consequently many believe they are full of promise. Mind you this is problematic on a number of levels.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were once upon a time a bad team.

But the players took their lumps and came of age together. The roster collectively failed but understood the bigger picture. The Thunder front office brought in individuals that complemented each other and understood the program.

Outside of the acquisitions of Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Martin, every player earning big minutes on the team was brought in through the draft.

One could say Portland was first to this party, and that would be factually correct.

Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge were drafted together, while Nicolas Batum and Greg Oden were acquired via the same process a few years after. Wes Matthews signed as a free agent a little less than three years ago and Damian Lillard joined the Blazers as a rookie this season.

That’s a lot of talent.

Sadly Roy and Oden didn’t pan out because of injuries.

Portland is nonetheless a competitive team but nowhere near what fans and analysts expected say three years ago.

The Trail Blazers were supposed to mirror the Thunder believe it or not. The issues with Oden obviously forced the franchise to take a step back, but the question needs to be asked: when will this group compete in the postseason?

They boast a near elite offense this season, thanks in large part to Aldridge’s terrific interior play.

The Texas product is a lethal mid-range shooter that also punishes defenders in the low block. Thus, despite only averaging 24.1 shots at the rim per game (19th in the NBA) according to Hoopdata, Portland owns the 11th best offensive efficiency in the league.

The prized big man is surrounded by a host of shooters ready to take advantage of every opening afforded by Aldridge’s presence on the court.

And when things get tight down the stretch of games, Lillard breaks down defenders with his ballhandling skills, which allow him to either get to the rim or create a jumper for himself from long-range.

There is a great tandem in the making in Portland but their recent history forces a bit of trepidation on outsiders looking in.

The evolution of their personnel leaves one to believe they might always be that young team that sells hope to its fans.

Their youth shows up on defense where teams simply take advantage of breakdowns and the lack of great defenders.

Batum and Matthews are very good defenders, but game changers they are not on this front. Oden was supposed to change it all but he is now a thing of the past.

Thus, Stotts operates with a defense ranked in the league’s bottom five.

They yield the third most shot attempts at the rim, an ugly stat that occasionally pop up in late game situations. Per NBA.com’s

Portland field goals allowed in clutch for 2012-13 season.

advanced stats tool, the Blazers surrender a 42.8 percent field goal conversion mark to opponents in the clutch (defined as last five minutes of the game with scoring margin within five points). That figure is one of the league’s bottom 10 marks.

This might be an issue this season, but with the added repetitions and collective growth the potential is there for a better Blazers defense.

The oldest player on the roster is Jared Jeffries at 31 years old and he barely plays.

The biggest area of concern in all of this mind you is LaMarcus Aldridge. He is signed until the conclusion of the 2014-15 campaign, but the inescapable amount of youth movements must be wearing on him.

At age 27, speculation on his long-term commitment might become an issue. Also, he’s already opened the door on maybe one day playing elsewhere, which must be a scary proposition for the team’s fans.

But all that talk about Blazers’ potential shortcomings in the near future can be halted with one thing and one thing only: winning.

Read about the Trail Blazers

Portland Roundball Society.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

46 Comments

  • Mar 16, 20138:59 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Off topic question!  Let’s say we got the first overall pick, would the Miami Heat trade Lebron James for the first pick? I doubt! But let’s say they would!

    PG Jose Calderon/Trey Burke
    SG Bk7
    SF Lebron James
    PF Greg Monroe
    C Andre Drummond

    Also sign some good bench players.

    What you guys think? I think this could be the best the best team in the NBA!
     

    • Mar 16, 20139:24 pm
      by Anthony

      Reply

      One problem. If we got the #1 pick, then gave it away for Lebron, how’d we get trey Burke? Just curious. Lol 

      • Mar 16, 20139:38 pm
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        We can trade for him, he will probably fall between 10 and 20, There is a chance that we can get him!

        • Mar 16, 201310:24 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Ok, you are absurd enough with your over the top Knight fandom. But this? Really?!?! The Heat trading James for a draft pick? The Pistons snatching up a late lottery pick without giving up any significant asset?

          But yes, put LeBron with any half decent group of players and they have a shot at being the best team int he league. I mean he got the best record in the league, twice, with a team that set the NBA record for longest losing streak upon losing him.

          • Mar 16, 201310:47 pm
            by Brandon Knight

            I was just wondering if they would!

    • Mar 16, 20139:47 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      @Brandon Knight Why would the Heat trade LeBron when they have just won 20 games straight to a team that could very well end up losing 20 straight for the 1st pick which in a strong draft might only realistically be worth the 4-5 pick?? Sorry but i cant see it happening.

    • Mar 16, 20139:52 pm
      by Brandon Knight

      Reply

      Or we draft Ben McLemore

      PG Brandon Knight “Yes I still believe Knight can play the PG position”    

      SG Ben McLemore
       
      SF Josh Smith

      PF Greg Monroe

      C Andre Drummond      

    • Mar 16, 201310:19 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      No, the Heat would never even come close to considering that. LeBron is hands down the best player in the league. The 1st overall pick has at best a 50% chance at being the best player in that draft class.

      If a team could offer all of the first five picks of the draft, the Heat would consider it, but would still probably turn the trade down. 

    • Mar 16, 201311:54 pm
      by Vince

      Reply

      You really make it easy for people to not take you seriously. This is absurd. 

      • Mar 17, 201312:58 am
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        You need to chill! I didn’t say Miami is willing to do that. If you read my comment you would see that I doubted the idea! I was just showing you guys how good of a team we can be if we get James. That’s all. Oh and yes Brandon Knight is our future Star. ;)

        • Mar 17, 20131:05 am
          by jerrific

          Reply

          Literally any team in the league would be considered a possible title contender with lebron on their roster. You’re not showing any one a thing, that’s common knowledge.  

          • Mar 17, 20131:09 am
            by Brandon Knight

            Yeah but not the best team in the NBA

        • Mar 17, 20131:49 am
          by Vince

          Reply

          I’m going to ignore your not so subtle attempt to try and make me react (and subsequently rip it to shreds) to your “Brandon Knight is our future star” argument and just rip the other part of your comment a new one.

          Jerrific already stated it but any team with Lebron and a bunch of scrubs on the roster is in playoff contention. Its called the Lebron-era Cleveland Cavaliers.

          Even if you doubted it, you thought about it, which is harmless, but I would love to see how it is your thought process works if you could even consider that we could get James for a 1st round pick and not have to deal Knight, Dre and/or Moose and a flurry of other picks. Not only that, but have enough left-over assets to trade for a lottery pick and still have left over after that to sign decent FAs to create “the best team in the NBA”. You either play too much NBA 2K or don’t have the foggiest clue what the NBA is.

          • Mar 17, 20134:54 pm
            by Brandon Knight

            LOL you took it to far, it was just an imagination of having Lebron on our team. PERIOD! I know it will never happen! 

          • Mar 17, 201310:34 pm
            by Vince

            Then why bring it up?

  • Mar 16, 201310:09 pm
    by jacob

    Reply

    Draft the best available. Prolly won’t be number 1 tho. 

  • Mar 16, 201310:16 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    In their last 7 games, the Suns are 1-6 with losses to Toronto, Sacramento, and Washington. They’re only a game behind the Pistons, but they’re looking like they could be tough to fall behind.

  • Mar 16, 201310:33 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Hey is anyone out there watching Syracuse vs Louisville? MCW is not looking like a big time player to me. I sure hope Joe is taking notes. The kid can’t even hit his free throws and his broken jump shot makes Stuckey look like Ray Allen.

  • Mar 16, 201310:38 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Incidentally, Calderon-Stuckey-Jerebko-Monroe combo is kicking ass right now.

  • Mar 16, 201310:44 pm
    by haydzzz

    Reply

    Watching the first half and it seems as if there is actually some team chemistry? Stuckey is playing how he should be and the team is finally playing uptempo. I think stuckey and calderon compliment each other a bit better.

  • Mar 16, 201310:44 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Man I love it when Rodney plays like that! This is the old Stuckey that we all used to like. I still believe Rodney can be great! When he plays aggressive, he is unstoppable. I still believe in Stuckey! He is horribly misused by the management.

    • Mar 16, 201310:57 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I don’t think it’s particularly fair to blame management for Stuckey’s struggles. He’s just a player with a fair amount of talent who doesn’t play up to his ability very often. Historically, there have been many such guys. And you know who gets the blame? Not the management, the players.

      • Mar 16, 201311:16 pm
        by gmehl

        Reply

        Yeah its easy to post positive comments about a player when he is having a productive game. If you really think Stuckey is that good then defend him when he makes 1 field goal in 3 games and we’ll see if you really think he is that good. At the end of the day you can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t want to use it to its maximum then a player like Stuckey is what you end up with. Superstars all seem to have that extra gear that other players in the NBA don’t. IMO that extra gear is obtained through that sheer determination of wanting to be the best.

  • Mar 16, 201311:04 pm
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Wow Singler can jump!

  • Mar 16, 201311:44 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    When Stuckey is used right, he’s a good pg. That’s on coach to know how to use his players right, and on general manager fit the right puzzle pieces together.

    I haven’t said much about Stuckey all year because he hasn’t been used right. He’s best as either a pg, a backup pg, or an sg with the ball in his hands a lot attacking. It’s not his fault he’s been stuck in a logjam of inconsistent combo guards.

    • Mar 16, 201311:55 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      So the short story here is that Stuckey doesn’t fit on this team. He is definitely a back up PG IMO that is unless you want your team to miss the playoffs every year. Yes he might be a PG that needs the ball in his hands to be effective but unless he ever gains a consistent jump shot he will never be starter quality. A PG is required to knock down shots late in the shot clock when the play called doesn’t eventuate and Stuckey doesn’t have the ability to do that. If he was better at finishing around the basket then his inconsistent shooting wouldn’t stand out as much but we all know the answer to that.

    • Mar 17, 201312:24 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      How do you distinguish between his “being used wrong” and his simply “not playing well”?

      Because, from what I can see, he hasn’t been used much differently in his good and bad games. 

  • Mar 16, 201311:54 pm
    by Blocks by Dre

    Reply

    Hickson and Aldridge killin us on the boards.

    meanwhile, Jose is tied for first in that category (with Maxiell)  with 4 rebounds…Drummond you are definitely missed!

  • Mar 16, 201311:56 pm
    by Blocks by Dre

    Reply

    Aldridge hitting those jump shots are proving my point about Monroe and stretch 4′s…

    • Mar 17, 201312:07 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Hey if Moose could hit his free throws at the same clip as Aldridge then he’d average 20ppg

      • Mar 17, 201312:28 am
        by Blocks by Dre

        Reply

        Yeah he needs to work on that. He’s 68% on the season and today he’s 4 for 8 so that’s another part of his game he needs to work on this summer. Not trying to sound like a Monroe hater but why he is regarded as untouchable by some people on here is beyond me.

      • Mar 17, 201312:34 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Aldridge hits 80.4% of his FTs. If Monroe were hitting 80.4% from the stripe, that would bring him up from 15.9 ppg to 16.5 ppg. So not even close to averaging 20 ppg.

        To get to 20 ppg just by upping his FT%, Monroe would have to hit 150.3% from the line (obviously impossible). So that should tell you how ridiculous that statement was.

  • Mar 17, 201312:04 am
    by jacob

    Reply

    Hopefully this team looks totally different next year.

  • Mar 17, 201312:27 am
    by Brandon Knight

    Reply

    Wow the backcourt combination of By um and Stuckey is lethal

  • Mar 17, 201312:27 am
    by Mel

    Reply

    Trade Monroe for Aldridge

    • Mar 17, 201312:36 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      That would be an awful trade. Monroe+Stuckey for Aldridge+Batum, that’d be ok.

      • Mar 17, 201312:47 am
        by Blocks by Dre

        Reply

        If Portland accepted that trade the league would veto it. That’s a horrible trade on Portlands part. now if we could pull off that trade without Stern pulling the plug on it then that will go down as one of the worst trades in history, but we would be much better from it lol

        • Mar 17, 201310:04 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Aldridge has, at most, 5 more years of being a borderline all-star. He will start next season 28 years old. Good player, but Monroe just has more value due to youth. That said, yes, my counter proposal is lopsided the other way.

  • Mar 17, 201312:40 am
    by George

    Reply

    I wonder if Portland would ever package Aldridge/Batum in a deal?  I always loved Batum’s game, but I guess he is locked into a fairly large contract.

    After this game, I hope the haters realize while he is older, Aldridge is a much better player than Monroe.  Neither will ever be defensive wizards, at least Aldridge has a substantially more polished offensive game.

  • Mar 17, 201312:42 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    sorry, but folks who don’t watch the blazers have a distorted view of aldridge and the blazers.
    no doubt he is very talented and that he can dominate games and other big guys.
    but he is not an elite player, the kind of player a quality franchise can build around.
    he is, at best, a solid, second option, and most likely, the third option on a contending team.
    aldridge is the classic example of a player whose stats don’t match his performance.
    i’ve watched the guy from his rookie year to the present…through the brandon roy years to the present…he is, at best, a second banana, and even then, he will invariably fold if the pressure is directly on him.
    he is a grade-a talent, no doubt.  but he has always…always failed to live up to his talent when he was responsible for moving the team forward.
    as a pistons fan who has lived in oortland and  watched and rooted for the blazers – whenever they don’t play detroit! – i have to say that i am always amazed at how non-blazer fans get seduced by aldridge’s talent and don’t look at his actual performance/production when the team actually needs him to perform.
    great game against a bad team like detroit? sure, aldridge will give that to you.
    clutch game when the team is getting ready to get bounced from the playoffs?
    good, freakin luck with that one.  more than likely, aldridge will come up with his typical, no-show performance.
    nice player, but he can never be the best player on a contending team. 

    • Mar 17, 201312:52 am
      by George

      Reply

      I think you can substitute Monroe’s name in place of Aldridge’s in your post Frankie D.  I think both guys are, at best, 2nd fiddles on good teams.  They are very nice secondary players, and each has some unique skill-sets for their size (Monroe-passing, Aldridge-perimeter shooting), but I don’t think of either as a franchise cornerstone.

      That said, from the limited amount many of of have seen from Drummond, he may have the unique ability to be a franchise guy.  Hell, you put a healthy Drummond in place of Hickson (no knock, okay player), and this time next year, Portland could be a serious contender.

      Now imagine, a Piston line-up of:

      Drummond
      Aldridge
      Batum
      Mayo (backed up by a draft pick-Oladipo, Muhammed, or Mcclemore)
      Calderon (or Jarrett Jack)

      That is a great nucleus to compete in the East. 

      • Mar 17, 20131:04 am
        by Brandon Knight

        Reply

        This is a better line up:
        PG Brandon Knight 
        SG Ben McLemore
        SF Josh Smith
        PF Greg Monroe
        C Andre Drummond   

      • Mar 17, 20131:13 am
        by frankie d

        Reply

        monroe is much more skilled than aldridge.
        aldridge has no handle whatsoever.  he can dribble once and then he shoots the ball.  in the playoffs the last few years team have pressured aldridge because they know that he cannot put the ball on the floor and he cannot pass the ball.  
        monroe can dribble as well as most small forwards and he certainly is an above-average passer.
        the one thing aldridge does extremely well is knock down the mid-range shot.  he is a very good shooter from the 12-18 foot range.  he might be the best shooting big man in the league, from that range.  however, what teams have learned, and what they adjust to in the playoffs, is that he is not a good shooter – or passer – if you pressure him.
        this is aldridge’s seventh year in the league.   what you see is what you will get from him.
        monroe, despite his problems – inconsistent outside shot, turnovers, etc… – still has room to grow.
        imho, aldridge is the kind of player that stats geeks drool over, or guys who don’t watch him play drool over, but if you see him on a game by game basis, his fatal flaws are very obvious.
        listen to any portland sports radio and catch what they say about aldridge.  almost universally they are not as enamored of him as most non-trailblazers fans are.
        why?
        because we watch the guy play for 82 games a year. 

  • Mar 17, 20131:02 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “Aldridge has a substantially more polished offensive game.”
    sorry, but this is laughable.
    the only thing aldridge does better than monroe is shoot the ball from the 12-18 foot range.  that is it.
    aldridge is a horrible player if he has to make a decision with the ball.   while monroe still has improvement to make, he is infinitely better with the ball.  in the playoffs, teams have learned that you can beat the blazers by pressuring aldridge and forcing him to make a decision with the ball.  while monroe is still learning how to handle that coaching move, the league knows all about aldridge and how he chokes if a team actually pressures him.
    too bad, cause he is a nice player, but he definitely does not respond well to pressure.  what is funny is that pistons fans never see the choking aldrdge because he rarely is out there in pressure situations against detroit. 

  • Mar 17, 20132:45 am
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    Still better than Greg at this point. I would pull the trigger in a heartbeat. 

    • Mar 17, 201310:07 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      He’s better at this point. But I have no reason to believe he will be better in one year or two years (because Monroe should improve). He definitely won’t be better in 5 years (because he will be old). Being young has value.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your Ad Here